ATLANTA — NL Cy Young Award contender Max Fried lasted only one inning in his final start of the regular season, leaving the Atlanta Braves‘ game against the Miami Marlins after tweaking his ankle fielding a bunt Wednesday night.
Fried (7-0) retired the first two hitters, including Starling Marte who dropped a bunt down the third-base line. The left-hander bounded off the mound, planted his left foot, grabbed the ball bare-handed, spun and threw to first just ahead of Marte.
Fried didn’t appear hurt but wasn’t the same pitcher after that play. After not having given up a homer all season, Fried grooved a fastball that Jesus Aguilar drove off the facade of the second deck. Brian Anderson sent a drive into the center-field seats and Garrett Cooper just missed a third straight homer, doubling off the wall.
Fried got out of the inning trailing 2-0, but he did not return in the second. He sat solemnly in the dugout chatting with manager Brian Snitker and getting what appeared to be a pep talk from teammate Freddie Freeman.
Luke Jackson took over in the second after the Braves scored three runs in the bottom of the first, at least ensuring Fried wouldn’t take his first loss of the season. But his ERA climbed from 1.96 to 2.25, which could hurt his Cy Young chances.
Fried is expected to start Game 1 of the NL wild-card series next Wednesday. The Braves clinched the NL East title on Tuesday night and earned the right to host the entire best-of-three series.